Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer shocked top seed David Ferrer in the final of the bet-at-home Open in Hamburg on Sunday, as he rallied from behind to win 6-7, 6-1, 7-6.
The 27-year-old captured his first ATP title at the clay court tournament, and in doing so became the lowest-ranked player to win an ATP World Tour 500 tournament since 2011 (46). That world ranking is now set to jump 19 places to 27th.
It looked likely that his Spanish opponent would wrap-up his second title of the year when he edged the first set 7-3 in a tie-break, which he had managed to force his way to winning after twice coming back from a break of serve down.
But Mayer showed strong character to come back against the 2013 French Open finalist, and two breaks of serve in the second set saw him level the match.
The Argentine number two then broke again in the deciding set, but failed to serve out for the match at 5-4, before edging the deciding tie-break 7-4 to seal one of the most significant victories of his career.
Mayer is the fourth player on the ATP tour to win his first singles title this year, and he was playing in just his second ATP final, after losing at the final hurdle to Italy’s Fabio Fognini in Vina del Mar in February, and he was overwhelmed by his victory.
He said: "I can't believe it. I was able to do it against Ferrer, who is one of the best players on this surface.
“I'm really happy and it still hasn't sunk in that I won.”
His success in Germany has followed an impressive run at Wimbledon this year, where he reached the fourth round for the first time in his career before losing to Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria.
There is now a chance that he could be seeded for the US Open if he keeps up his current form, with the top 32 ranked players being seeded, and the tournament begins at Flushing Meadows on Monday, 25th August.
The defeat for Ferrer was another blow in what has been a disappointing year for the former world number three, as he had looked to gain back some form after losing in the second round at Wimbledon in June to Russian Andrey Kuznetsov.
That was then followed by another surprise loss to Mayer’s compatriot Carlos Berlocq in the quarter-finals at the Swedish Open in Bastad last week, and despite winning his 21st career title in Buenos Aires in February, he has not made it beyond the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam, and his world ranking has dropped by three places since the start of the year.